Bernadette Mary Lapinski of Macomb Township, Michigan was called to her heavenly home, peacefully, on June 26, 2023. Known to her friends as Bernie, she was born in Hamtramck, Michigan on February 23, 1941. She was the only daughter of Mary (née Garbacz) and Erwin Tymn. She also had an older brother, Donald, who preceded her in death. Bernadette is survived by Richard, her faithful husband of 58 years, as well as their three children: Michael (Christine) Lapinski, Suzanne (Kent) Hohensee and Mary (Todd) Harm. She was grandmother to nine grandchildren: John, Rebekah, Zachary, Mark and Brooke Lapinski; Sarah and Emily Hohensee; Jacob and Emma Harm.
Bernadette attended Transfiguration Catholic Church in Detroit and completed elementary studies at Transfiguration School. She went on to graduate from Immaculata High School in Detroit in 1958. She studied education at Mercy College of Detroit, graduating with her bachelor’s degree in 1962. She became an elementary school teacher in the Detroit Public Schools after graduation. During this time she met Richard Lapinski, the love of her life, and they married in 1964, renting an upper flat in the east side of Detroit. She remained a full-time teacher until the birth of their first child in 1965. After her children were of school age, she returned to the classroom as a substitute teacher until her retirement in 1999.
In 1968 the family moved north to Warren, Michigan to their first house on Cunningham Street. A devoted wife and mother, Bernadette poured her energies into her family. Following God and learning about Jesus was a priority in the Lapinski home, and Bernadette made sure they were in church each Sunday and learning about their Christian faith through catechism classes during the week. Family dinners were a priority, as were visits to see extended family in the area. Sunday afternoon picnics at Algonac State Park were a staple for the Lapinskis throughout the summer. Bernadette made their home a welcoming place for friends, family, and neighbors. Neighborhood friends could always be found at the Lapinski home, playing baseball in the back yard, basketball in the driveway, or Barbies in the basement. Bernadette and Richard actively supported and cheered on their children in their various activities at Center Line High School, University of Michigan, Lawrence Technological University and Eastern Michigan University.
Bernadette and Richard were long-time members at St. Cletus Catholic Church in Warren. They were active in leadership of the church’s Mom and Dad’s Club, continuing long after their children had grown and left their home. They were avid travelers, visiting many of the US states, including California and Hawaii, even driving to Alaska from Michigan! They camped and explored many of the beautiful state parks in Michigan, often with their friends from the Mom and Dad’s Club. When they retired, Richard and Bernadette spent the winters in Fort Myers, Florida, meeting a new group of treasured friends to whom they opened their home and shared hospitality. Together they enjoyed bocce, golf, bowling, shuffleboard, cards and the many things the Sunshine State has to offer.
As their children married and had children of their own, this opened up a new season of life for Bernadette and Richard. They moved to a new home in Macomb, Michigan and joined the Catholic community at St. Isidore Church. They faithfully supported their grandchildren and attended football, baseball, hockey, basketball, volleyball, and softball games; equestrian, gymnastics, track & field meets; golf and water polo matches; band and choir concerts; theater productions; science and art fairs. This kept them quite busy, but each grandchild knew that they could count on Grandma Bernadette and
Papa to be there – rain or shine, heat or cold – to cheer them on and let them know that they were loved.
Bernadette’s life focus can be summed up by two things: loving God and loving others. She was an encourager of her children and grandchildren, an example for them to follow and an inspiration to the friends and family that she poured into. We are all better for having shared life with Bernadette. She is missed here, but we are buoyed by the hope that we will one day see her again, smiling, laughing, and dancing in the presence of Jesus.